2007/02/18

The Soft Prejudice of Tiny Fonts

I've got a problem...about 4 days ago I accidentally stuck a finger in my eye and scratched my cornea. Now any of you who've had this problem know what an irritating pain in the bahookie it is. I've got eye drops of all kinds. I'm wearing a contact lens--for the first time in 15 years--to help speed the healing process. I've got a patch for those times when I just need to cut off sight to the offending orb. And I've found that I'm having scads of trouble reading some of my favorite web sites. Why? Maddeningly small fonts!

Check out the New York Times or the Washington Post. What do you see? Fonts so small that the text looks like ant tracks. Thank god for CMD+, the "increase font size for dolts like me" command.

So is it just me trying to read with my one good eye? I know from my design friends that when it comes to web sites you're not supposed to override people's preferences, and I also know that the news sites do. I typically use Verdana at 12pt as my default font (14pt on Windoze), but both the NYT and WaPo substitute Times Roman at a something that looks like -3pt.

So all I'm saying here is...give my non-wonky eye a break and punch up those font sizes. Your readers will thank you. I know because when I switched Blognonymous to scaled fonts the most common comment was, "...it's so easy to read now."

22 Comments:

I like the new font Kvatch. Allows me to lean way back in my chair - relaxing way to blog, I might add.

Blog on and may your eye repair.
I've always used the large size font option here as well. Maybe we're all just getting old, but it's alot easier to read. . .
Get Well Soon!
Omigosh! The same thing happened to me back in October. It's so painful, and I was stuck wearing my glasses for what seemed like an eternity.

And well, I'm vain, so you know I wasn't loving that. At all.

Get well soon! I don't know how to change the font size on my blog, but I haven't posted anything that really requires actual reading lately, so you're off the hook. :-)
Actually WS, all the fonts on Blognonymous are scaled to between 90% and 135% of whatever you have as your default. So if you can read it, it's only because Blognonymous uses your default as it's base size.

John...old certainly has something to do with it. I'm in my early forties, and my eyes are changing so fast these days, I'm getting my perscription updated every six months.
Hey Polishifter, Mags, thanks for the well wishes.

Actually the contact lens has helped the most. Keeps my lid from scraping against the scratch. The day after I did this, I was miserable from all the irritation.
I will now have to take a critical eye at my blog (no pun intended ... well, maybe a little).

Here's to eye health!

Cheers, Kvatch ~
Sorry about your eye, kvatch.

I like the new font. It feels good on these 41 year old eyes.
Hey! It's not the size of the font that counts, it's the style!
If you go to the top of your browser and click on "View" you should see a feature that will allow you to adjust the size of the font up to 200%. I do that a lot because the default is 100%, and I find that 120% makes life much easier.

If you didn't actually tear the cornea, it should heal completely. Good luck.
CitizenBoo..."critical eye"! ;-) (The closed one is my 'wonky' eye.)

Lizzy...thanks. I don't like how Blognonymous looks with IE on Windoze, too large in my opinion, but I'm willing to trust a good friend who does design for a living.
Octavian... A guy that I once worked with had a particular vision problem--something akin to tunnel vision--and he told me that seriffed fonts are easier for the human eye to track. At small point sizes though, I think that seriffed fonts are much harder to discern. Though maybe that's just a Mac problem.

Cranky... CMD+ does pretty much what your talking about, bumps the size up by 20% per invocation.
I do hope your eye heals nice & neat & that you are meticulous in following through with eyedrops, rx ointment & cleaning routine. You don't want to be messing with your vision! I got an abraded cornea about 15-yrs ago that became infected. I had no idea WHAT the problem was until I found myself unable to drive one day because my eye had become so sensitive to sunshine. Even though I started antibiotic ointment immediately, after it healed, I was left with permanent "dry eye". I can tell you it is NO fun to be always administering artificial tears. Now, here's the weird thing which you might appreciate being in your 40's & at or nearing the dreaded reading glasses stage: my damaged dry eye has refused to age -- i.e. it can read the fine print just fine & so I'm the only person I know in their 50's who doesn't need reading glasses (yet)! I guess there IS some good with the bad. ~~ D.K.
Hope your eye gets better soon.

Love the eye patch on the froggy photo! Very clever ;-).
I tore my cornea a few months back and wanted to kill myself. Every little ray of light was like getting shot in the eye and brain with a big ass gun.
D.K., I've tried to be very thorough, but I've got so much stuff to keep track, it's sometimes difficult. As for "dry eye" got that already. In fact, it's the reason that I stopped wearing contacts years ago. Just couldn't keep 'em wet enough.

Pam...thanks for the sentiments, and BTW the photo is actually a rework of one I posted about 4 months ago, "Kvatch with sunglasses".

Scott...I hear you man! The patch also takes care of the light sensitivity problem, though I do get it a bit even in my good eye--must be a sympathetic brain response.
I have to admit I thought it was a mistake, but with my little Mac 12" screen, I love your new font size.
Sorry about your eye. Hope it heals soon. Speaking of small fonts -- I wear strong glasses for my nearsightedness. But more and more in my old age, I have to take off my glasses to read things up close. I'll swear they're making print-size smaller and smaller. And I refuse to wear bi-focals.

The good news is, here is a blog with a giagantic easy-to-read font. The bad news is, the author is a first class wingnut.
Praguetwin... Like I said, "my font size" is your font size. Blognonymous uses your browser default and then calculates everything using percentages.

Tom... I'm going farsighted as well--perscription's changing twice a year now. Making life a real pain, but as my opthamalogist says..."Bi-focals are for lazy people. Take your damn glasses off!"
Yours is one of the few I don't have to enlarge to read without squinting.

I use Verdana too but somehow with the change to the new improved blogger, it's shrunk. Nobody has complained so far but I may try to go up one size.
Kvatch - We're in the same age range then, 42 going on 43 here.
Granny...well, no squinting anymore. I used to keep Blognonymous' font on the small side, but just decided to give up. It was too difficult to check on every browser.

We're in the same age range then, 42 going on 43 here.

John... Yup. I'm 43 next month.

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